AT&T will start selling the Nokia Lumia 900 in its stores on April 8. This smartphone will be slightly less expensive than the 2-year-old Apple iPhone 4, which the carrier already sells.
However, while the price is nearly the same, the differences are significant. Perhaps most important, this version of the Lumia supports Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4G data communications, along with AT&T's HSPA+ and 3G. The iPhone 4 cannot work with 4G.
The differences grow as you dig deeper. The Nokia Lumia 900 has twice the memory as the iPhone 4, a vastly better camera with a much better lens system, a larger 4.3-inch AMOLED screen and a faster processor. And while it's true that the interface on Windows Phone is different from what you'll see on Apple iOS or Google Android, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, during my initial testing of T-Mobile's Lumia 710, and in my use of the device since that time, I've found the Windows Phone interface to be highly responsive, very intuitive and very well-thought-out. It's clear in developing the Windows Phone interface that Microsoft started with a clean slate instead of offering a slightly warmed-over version of iOS like what you find with Android.
What's also important is that the current version of Windows Phone is very much like the experience you'll have on Windows 8-based tablets.
I used the first of these at CeBIT in the beginning of March. In much the same way that you have probably found the transition between iPhone and iPad to be nearly seamless, the same is true between Windows Phone on a smartphone and Windows 8 on a tablet. Yes, these interfaces are very different, but that's not to suggest that the Windows interfaces are somehow worse. In some ways, I think it's a little easier to use and more responsive.
Nokia also brings some apps along with apps that already come with Windows Phone. For example, there's Nokia Drive, a turn-by-turn navigation system that actually works quite wellsomething I found out when trying to navigate Baltimore in a rental car after finding out that the navigation on my other phone would make me pay for a subscription.
Windows Phone gives you SkyDrive, which is a cloud storage app that lets you use it for backup, much like you can do with Apple iCloud, but you can also make items in the SkyDrive sharable, so you can do things like share photos.